Polish region scraps anti-LGBT motion after EU threatens to cut funds

by Reuters
Wednesday, 22 September 2021 19:30 GMT

FILE PHOTO: European Union and Polish flags flutter in Mazeikiai, Lithuania April 5, 2019. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins/File Photo/File Photo

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The Swietokrzyskie region in Poland was one of nearly a hundred municipalities and provinces that adopted motions declaring themselves free of "LGBT ideology".

WARSAW, Sept 22 (Reuters) - A Polish province on Wednesday annulled a motion opposing "LGBT ideology" after the European Union threatened to pull funding, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

Numerous local authorities in Poland have declared themselves "LGBT free" zones as gay rights have become a high-profile and deeply divisive issue in the predominantly Catholic country under conservative nationalist rule.

This has set Poland on a collision course with the European Commission, which says the zones may violate EU law regarding non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation.

The Swietokrzyskie region was one of nearly a hundred municipalities and provinces that adopted motions declaring themselves free of "LGBT ideology".

In a vote on Wednesday, the Swietokrzyskie region repealed a motion that was adopted in June 2019, after the European Commission wrote to five Polish regional councils urging them to abandon such declarations earlier in September.

The Commission said that, if they did not do so, extra funding for part of the EU bloc's COVID-19 recovery fund could be put on hold.

The funds are part of REACT-EU (Recovery Assistance for Cohesion and the Territories of Europe), a package of additional cohesion funds under which Poland has been allocated a total of more than 1.5 billion euros.

In its justification for Wednesday's resolution, the region's government said that it would protect the rule of law, as well as Polish law and customs, adding that it would oppose "all manifestations of discrimination based on sex, age, race, disability, ethnic origin religion, belief or (sexual)orientation", PAP reported.

(Reporting by Alicja Ptak; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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